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Leave the Gift of True Thoughtfulness to Your Heirs

Elderly dad proudly displays an overstuffed storage unit, saying to his son, it will someday be his.

This is an executor's nightmare scenario for sorting through and dividing.

Few things are more overwhelming or more emotionally challenging for heirs than the “stuff” left behind; especially in overstuffed garages and storage units.

I heard so many awful stories about settling an estate going so poorly; I knew there must be a better way; a better way to organize it, share it with heirs anywhere, and then divide it fairly.”
— David MacMahan
CAMARILLO, CA, UNITED STATES, January 22, 2021 / -- Today, nearly all of us have been trapped in our homes by Covid for nearly a year, with at least several months ahead of us looking similar. Are you over sixty, have a will or trust set up, and feeling OK about how you will be leaving your family to deal with your estate? Awesome! Now do you have a garage, attic or self-storage unit, with things you haven’t seen or thought about in months or years? These represent an amazing gifting opportunity, and useful task during COVID.

Can you imagine how overwhelming the duties will be for your beloved executor trying to let heirs know what personal property is available to divide, sell or donate? They can’t all meet at the house like in earlier times. The tangible assets, aka personal property, furniture, art, jewelry, sentimental items are usually the most difficult and contentious part of an estate to divide. The practical challenges alone of letting all heirs know what is there, getting it listed, sometimes valued are huge. Then how does one go about dividing peacefully? Worst of all, they have typically never done it before, so it is all completely overwhelming.

While we have more available time than we would like, why not create a gift that will have your heirs beaming with appreciation? That gift is a decluttered, photographed inventory of all things they will need to divide, sell or donate when you downsize to an assisted living apartment, or die. It will be so much easier for you to do now, knowing the things as you do, than for your heirs to have to discover and deal with, all in the midst of also losing a parent.
We all have great cameras built into our phones now, and taking photos is so easy. Take a day, go to the self-storage building or overstuffed garage, and pull everything out (remember they are going to have to do this if you don’t):
- Take a few big boxes, paper, pen and tape; organize as keep, gift, sell, donate or trash
- Pull everything out so you can see it and deal with it
- If you can’t imagine a loved one excited to have it, and you haven’t thought about it for a year; deal with it now
- When repacking, imagine the storage in sections, back, middle back, forward middle and front, noting the photos where you are repacking, back to front. Ex. Photos 1-28 back, 29-57 middle…
- If there are boxed items, open, unbox, taking a photo of the box contents, then re-box and label the box label and number it as the last photo of the box
- Now you have a full photo inventory! Arrange pick up or haul away donations and trash
- Once home, you can upload the photo inventory into for free
- Once in you can type directly on the photo, the item name, any story behind it, etc. that can be shared with family online, reports printed, etc.

Everyone has, or knows a story about a family ending up in total conflict over “stuff”, be it sentimental, or just not having equal access to choose it, or a fair way to divide things. There is no reason to saddle your heirs (particularly the poor soul you named executor) with dealing with all of this, when it is now so easy to do yourself or get it done.

David MacMahan, founder of says that is exactly why he created FairSplit: “I heard so many awful stories about this part of settling an estate going so poorly, I knew there must be a better way; a better way to organize it, share it with heirs anywhere, and then divide it fairly. Making all of this online makes it work for everyone, and now with everyone comfortable taking lots of photos, it made our system a natural solution.” When made their home inventory tools free, more and more elderly parents have been using it to make the tasks of their heirs more manageable.

If you aren’t one for doing things like this yourself, there is an entire industry of people who do this professionally, and variations in between. If you can get the photos taken, can list, categorize and pair the items with the photos professionally for typically less than $1 per item. There are also local companies who will come do all of the tasks. Many belong to organizations like NASSM (National Association of Senior and Specialty Move Managers) They will come do all of the tasks above for storage or garage places, but can also catalog and declutter your entire home. Because they do this every day, they can do it fast and affordably.

If you can remember possibly dealing with your parents’ estate or grandparents’ after they passed, try to imagine how much easier it would have been with this preparation done. While stuck at home, and having binge watched all of the Top 10 Netflix series, consider getting the tangible assets of your estate organized for your heirs. It may very well be the gift they will actually appreciate the most when you are gone.

David MacMahan is an entrepreneur in Southern California. was founded in 2010 to help with peacefully dividing the personal property of estates, in death, divorce or downsizing. Additionally, they offer conflict resolution, mediation, listing, valuing and administrative services.

+1 855-58-ESTATE (855-583-7828)

David MacMahan
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Best ways to photograph and list the contents of a home, storage unit, etc. and upload to's free inventory account